September 30, 2023

Salads Ready-Made for Trader Joe’s Caused 2013 E. coli Outbreak

Lawyer for Trader Joes Salad E. coli OutbreakIn October and November 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collaborated with public health officials in California, Washington and Arizona to trace an outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 to two kinds of pre-packaged, ready-to-eat salads made for Trader Joe’s grocery stores by Glass Onion Catering. The agencies continued their laboratory surveillance of the outbreak, uncovering 33 confirmed illnesses, including 28 E. coli case patients in the state of California.

The molecular pattern of the outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 had never been seen before in the United States, the CDC said. It was linked to two types of salads produced by Glass Onion: Field Fresh Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken and Mexicali Salad with Chili Lime Chicken. On Nov. 10, 2013, the company recalled 181,620 pounds of the salads. But by then, the outbreak was already over. The onset of most of the illnesses had taken place between October 15 Р23. The CDC said seven of the case patients were hospitalized and two of them developed kidney failure as part of a life-threatening complication of E. coli poisoning known as hemolytic uremic syndrome, or E. coli HUS. Medical research shows that all people who become infected by Shiga toxin-producing E. coli, including E. coli O157:H7, are at risk for continued suffering ranging from heart problems later in life to severe high blood pressure.

The USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service and the Food and Drug Administration worked closely with CDC and the state partners during the investigation, but neither agency ever reported findings of how the salads became contaminated. Fortunately, there were no deaths in this outbreak.

The symptoms of an E. coli infection include a mild fever, abdominal cramps that are very painful, and diarrhea that is bloody and/or watery. Symptoms usually begin a few days after exposure to the pathogenic bacteria. Some patients can then develop hemolytic uremic syndrome, which is a type of kidney failure. Symptoms of HUS include little or no urine output, easy bruising, lethargy, pale skin, a rash, and bleeding from the nose or mouth. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should see a doctor immediately because these conditions can be life-threatening.

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